A conceptual reflection of mental illness in New Zealand.
New Zealand has one of the worst suicide rates in the western world. Ngā Raruraru Hauora Hinengaro (mental health problems) are one of our biggest long-term challenges as a nation. If You're a Bird, I'm a Bird is a series of four artworks that are focused on depression. The artwork are a conceptual reflection of how New Zealanders hide their feelings. Emotive and thought-provoking, the images, as well as the accompanying publication, hope to encourage people to open up about mental health issues..
This project, If You're a Bird, I'm a Bird, situates itself in as 'design for social good'. In 2019, the number of suicides in New Zealand reached its highest ever level since records began. In the past decade, the number of suicides in Aotearoa has risen 29%. Many New Zealanders have a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to mental health, and an inability to talk openly about their emotions.
If You're a Bird, I'm a Bird is a series of four artworks which focus on depression, alongside a supporting publication which explains the concept and content of each artwork. The artworks are a conceptual reflection of how many New Zealanders hide their feelings. I chose to use two models and partially masked their identities using illustrations of native birds and foliage.
The art works encourage further investigation provided by the accompanying A4 publication which gives details of the story behind each work. The publication gives more information from my research about each bird and plant featured, which were specifically chosen to represent certain themes. On the final page I have included information about where young people struggling with their mental health can get help.
2020 has been a difficult year for many people. At the start of the year, I never realised that a global pandemic could change the world in so many ways and create so much additional stress. I hope this project not only entertains and informs people but makes a small different in someone’s life.